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Cloud-based Key Management: Benefits and Trends

cloud based key management benefits and trends

Sam Raimi’s 2002 movie “Spider-Man” not only reintroduced the superhero to a new generation, but also gave us this timeless piece of wisdom: “With great power comes great responsibility.” The line is spoken by Uncle Ben, guardian and father figure to future webslinger Peter Parker. Uncle Ben wants to remind his nephew not to overlook the most important things in life in favor of short-term pursuits. 

If knowledge is power, sensitive data is even more so. For organizations with sensitive data, following Uncle Ben’s advice means responsibly protecting that data no matter where it resides. Running applications in the cloud is increasingly common, but all that data won’t protect itself. With increased cloud adoption comes the need for increased cloud security.  

Encryption is the best way to ensure security, but for some reason not everyone uses it. For example, a recent study by Statista showed only 20-40% of the cloud data is actually encrypted. As a cryptography provider, we think organizations will thank themselves for taking advantage of the cutting-edge cloud security tools out there.  

In our earlier blog, we outlined the common challenges that organizations face when implementing encryption solutions. Our second blog in the series delved into how the cloud solves longstanding problems in cryptography.  

In this post, we’d like to explain one of the most powerful cloud security use cases that organizations will thank themselves for deploying. We’re talking about cloud-based key management. 

Why manage keys in the cloud?

1. Enhanced cost efficiency

Cloud-based key management helps organizations significantly reduce their total cost of ownership (TCO) and increase ROI. Organizations that deploy cloud key management solutions adopt an OpEx-based flexible licensing model that can be tailored to specific use cases, such as digital signing or payment encryption.  

This helps organizations to only pay for the functionalities essential to their operations, thereby optimizing their cryptographic infrastructure and reducing upfront costs associated with traditional, on-premises solutions.  

2. Advanced security 

Cloud key management services help organizations significantly bolster their control over encryption keys. This enhanced control enables organizations to promptly revoke or rotate keys as necessary and establish detailed access policies.  

Cloud key management also mitigates the risk of insider threats through stringent role definitions and access restrictions. Given the increasing reliance on cryptography to safeguard critical and sensitive data, such as payment information and personally identifiable information (PII), cloud key management becomes indispensable.  

These solutions ensure that encryption keys do not themselves become security vulnerabilities. In scenarios where sensitive data is exposed, cloud key management ensures that unauthorized individuals cannot access and decipher the information, as the encryption keys remain securely protected within the cloud environment. 

3. Compliance assurance 

Implementing cloud-based key management is a strategic move towards achieving compliance with various regulatory standards. 

In the United States, for example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires healthcare companies to secure their cryptographic keys used for encrypting and decrypting patient data. Similarly, organizations in the US Defense and Aerospace sectors are mandated to secure their keys in accordance with NIST SP 800-171 standards. 

In the European Union, telecom providers are subject to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)’s compliance standards, which include stipulations for key management. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) also recommends the adoption of key management practices to safeguard personal data.  

For organizations operating within the global payments industry, adherence to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is universal. This standard emphasizes the critical role of proper key management in the protection of sensitive cardholder data.  

Future trends

1. Evolution of encryption solutions

With the digital landscape continuing to expand at an unprecedented rate, we can expect significant advancements in encryption technologies in the coming years. 

Bring your own key (BYOK), external key management (EKM), and client-side encryption (CSE) are poised to lead this evolution in cryptography. We will also trend towards customization and flexibility in encryption that will enable businesses to more effectively protect their data and manage their security protocols. 

2. Automation in key management

The growing number of encryption keys demands more sophisticated management solutions. Automation is set to play a critical role in this evolution.  

Automated key management processes are expected to become increasingly common. With the integration of AI tools, the future key management solutions will further boost efficiency, drastically reduce human errors, and provide proactive measures against potential security threats. This integration will play a fundamental role in more intuitive and responsive key management systems. 

3. Enhanced compliance capabilities 

As data protection regulations become more rigorous, the ability of cloud key management services to adapt and provide robust compliance solutions will be crucial.  

Cloud key management services are poised to develop further, offering more comprehensive compliance features. These enhancements will be specifically tailored to meet the varied and stringent regulatory demands of different industries.  

Organizations, especially those in sectors with strict data protection laws, will benefit greatly from these advancements. Enhanced compliance capabilities will not only ensure adherence to regulatory mandates but also reinforce trust and security in business operations. 


Cloud-based key management not only simplifies the management of encryption keys but also provides enhanced security measures against potential breaches. 

Additionally, its scalable nature ensures that it can quickly meet the evolving needs of any organization. With the integration of advanced technologies like AI and automation, cloud-based key management is poised to become an even more integral part of organizational data security strategies.  

To delve deeper into cloud-based key management, download our eBook on “Mastering Cloud-based Key Management”. 


Why is encryption adoption low in cloud storage despite its importance?

Encryption’s slow adoption in cloud storage could be due to cost concerns and a lack of awareness about its importance. Some organizations may delay implementing encryption due to perceived complexities or uncertainty about its benefits.

How do cloud-based key management solutions aid compliance with regulations like HIPAA and GDPR?

Cloud-based key management solutions are essential for organizations aiming to comply with regulations like HIPAA and GDPR. These solutions offer tailored security measures, helping organizations protect sensitive data and avoid regulatory penalties.

How will advancements like BYOK and automation impact cloud key management’s future?

Advancements such as BYOK and automation are set to transform cloud key management. BYOK allows organizations to maintain control over encryption keys, while automation streamlines processes, reducing the risk of errors and enhancing efficiency. As these technologies evolve, cloud key management will become more versatile and adaptable to organizations’ needs.

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For over 40 years, Futurex has been a trusted provider of hardened, enterprise-class data security solutions. More than 15,000 organizations worldwide have used Futurex’s innovative hardware security modules, key management servers, and cloud HSM solutions to address mission-critical data encryption and key management needs.

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